Jaylen has made a pretty big leap this year, obviously. 24.7/6/3.4 on a 59% TS in his age 24 season is sweet as hell. I still don’t really see the Butler comparisons, just because their styles of are so different. He’s a hard guy to find a great comp for, even the Klay one I’ve used in the past isn’t great, because Klay runs around off of picks, where as Jaylen is more of a standstill shooter as of now.
First off, the good. He’s a legitimately elite three point shooter at this point, though clearly at his best off the catch. I don’t think Brad takes advantage of this enough, and our ball movement isn’t nearly good enough to get him enough open looks from deep. This summer Jaylen should practice running around off of picks and shooting off of them. Not only would it benefit him, but the offense would be much harder to defend as well.
He’s made a good jump as a playmaker, which was a necessity as it wasn’t really even a part of his game until this year. He gets himself into trouble trying to do too much, and setting others up just doesn’t come naturally to him, but he’s shown that he can hit guys when a second defender collapses on him on the drive. His assist rate has jumped from 9.7 last year to 16.6% this year, while his turnover rate has only jumped from 11.2% to 11.5%. The assist rate has fallen off the last month or two, but it’s been for the good of the offense. His usage has been down a bit the last two months, and they’ve been using him as more of a play finisher than initiator. His assists per game in March was 3, and in April it was down to 2.2.
He’s been really good as a scorer out of the PnR, is in the 87th percentile. He’s pretty explosive, so it makes sense as the PnR is about throwing the other teams defense out of whack for a moment. This seems to be something they can capitalize on more, and I hope they do.
This one is both good and bad. He is just a bad ISO scorer, but he recognizes this and does it even less than last year, as opposed to Tatum who does it more than last year, despite being far worse at it than last year lol. Last season Jaylen was in the 43rd percentile as an iso scorer, but only did it 7.4% of the time. This year he is in the 38th percentile, but only goes does it 7.1% of the time. He has a few go to moves, but he doesn’t really have the repertoire in a halfcourt offense to be a real threat in ISO.
One thing that surprised me was that he’s not as good in transition as I expected, is in the 57th percentile, but he does get out on the break a TON. 22.7% of his scoring opportunities are on the break, just for perspective, Westbrook is at 22.2%. He finished at a much better rate than Westbrook as well, but for a guy with his combo of size, speed, and strength, he should absolutely be in the top 20% percentile. He shoots 70% in the paint, which is really good, though somehow behind last year, does it much less frequently too. One thing that’s nice is he has dramatically cut down on his deep two’s since that start early in the season. Even if he was hitting them at a high rate, was a bad habit to get into. I have no issues with them at the end of the shot clock, but that should be more of a last option as opposed to taking them consistently.
Now the one real bad, his defense. I’ve never thought he was a great defender, but he’s much better than he’s shown this season. His team defense will never be a strength, but he needs to get back to being a very good on ball defender. In his defense, I think the shortened off season combined with him having to do so much more offensively than he’s ever done has played a big part in it. I mean you see superstars throughout the league take plays off defensively, it’s impossible to go all out on both ends all game. He’s just not great enough offensively where he can suck on defense and still be a positive impact player. I think next season he will get back to being better on that end, he deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Overall he’s had a really good season, and shown at the very least, he can be a great championship number 3. I have real concerns about if he can be the second guy, but that’s more a reflection of the super team era than Jaylen himself. I know I get on him at times, but it’s because if he can be that second guy, that makes everything infinitely easier for this team going forward. He puts in a ton of work, as everyone knows, so I’m not going to bet against him. Now we just need to get him healthy for the playoffs, and he needs to stop ending up on his ass so much.